August #AuthorTip: Define Your Own Success

Last but not least, a tip for preserving your inner happy:


The secret to being successful and happy is to define what “success” and “happiness” mean to you and not let anyone tell you otherwise.

True, most authors have big dreams of becoming a #1 NYT Bestseller and everything that comes with it: fame, interviews, movie deals, merchandise lines… but there are a few whose aims are somewhat humbler. For some, getting that publishing deal at all is the ultimate achievement. For others, just finishing that darn book they’ve been working on for the last 30 years would be the biggest success. Some authors are writing family histories just for their relatives, to share stories of generations past. Others might just be looking to keep all the bedtime stories they tell their kids in one volume, illustrated by their children. And then there are authors who just want to know that someone out there is reading their work and storing it carefully on a shelf with their most beloved volumes.

Maybe the best way to measure success is in steps. Set achievable goals, and when you reach them, set your aim on the next step up. But realize that none of those achievements will mean a thing in the long run if you sacrifice too much to achieve them. Always keep sight of what’s truly important in life, because chances are it’s not going to be that “New York Times Bestselling Author” tagline on the cover of your book.


This concludes my #AuthorTip series (for now). I sincerely hope you enjoyed these posts and found them helpful.

I have been asked why I don’t have a Donate button on this blog. The reasons are both logistical and personal. But if you still want to show your appreciation, the most welcome way would be with a purchase of one or more of my books. I have quite a few of them to choose from, in several genres. You can read more about them on my author website: AlianneDonnelly.com.

Thanks for your support! <3

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August #AuthorTip: Practice Balance

Continuing this post series with a tip for not going broke–financially, emotionally, and socially:


Practice balance–in your finances and in your life.

The first rule of business is that you need to spend money to make money. Well, that may be true, but you can still be smart about where you invest it. Budget yourself and don’t spend more than you can afford. Set aside some portion of your royalties for marketing expenses, and some for necessary ones like editing and cover design. You don’t have to spend a lot to put out a beautiful book, and you don’t have to spend a lot to promote it. Look for free or low cost options online, and skip the print media (those are usually much more expensive and don’t give you nearly as much reach as the Internet).

Likewise, balance your time between your writing job and life in general. Spend time with your family, go out with your friends, take a day or two just for yourself. Get plenty of sleep, and don’t skip meals. Don’t let your passion become your jailer. It’s too easy to get swept up in all the things that you need to or want to do around your books (and believe me, the list is never ending…) and if you let it, it’ll consume your mind, body, and soul. Yes, we all “write” all the time, even if it’s just thinking about that new story we’re working on, or a new marketing technique we want to try out, but you need to be able to switch off every once in a while. Writing is a wonderful thing to do, but it’s not worth your health, your family, or your relationships.

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August #AuthorTip: Remember Your Origin Story

Continuing this post series with a tip for staying grounded:


Never forget where you came from and how hard you had to work to get where you are now. Your toils are your badge of honor–they prove what you’re capable of and that any new obstacle can be overcome. But don’t mistake confidence with arrogance. Your achievements don’t give you the right to put down others. If anything, they give you the responsibility to help raise them up.

If you see someone struggling, offer to help them along. If someone asks for guidance or advice, give it. That doesn’t mean you go around randomly pointing out mistakes people have made (seriously, don’t be that person, it only makes you look like an idiot). It means making yourself available to those who can benefit from your years of experience if they need it and ask for it.

Your success was likely a complex formula of your own perseverance and the help of any number of other people. Honor their contribution by paying it forward and helping another fledgling writer find his/her wings.

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